Robert Tyre Jones, aka Bobby Jones, didn’t have to enlist to fight in World War II. He was forty years old, married with two children, and could have easily played exhibition golf to raise money for the war effort. That wasn’t the kind of guy he was though. In May of 1942, after lobbying the commander of his reserve unit to be upgraded to active duty, Bobby became a captain in the Army Air Corps.
Just another rich kid with a ceremonial commission, right? Wrong. They offered him that. Bobby refused. “I don’t want to be a hoopty-da officer of some camp,” he told them. He wanted to fight. Like most of the men of his generation, he believed in America and what we stood for. Two years later, on June 7, 1944, D-Day plus one, his unit was converted to infantry and he hit the beach in Normandy.
Bobby’s unit was under heavy enemy fire for two days. He never talked about it after the war. Most of the guys on that beach didn’t. My Dad was an infantryman there who would later go on to fight with Patton’s Third Army. He never spoke about D-Day either, but he cried the first time he watched “Saving Private Ryan.” We can’t possibly imagine the hell those boys went through.
Remember What They Fought For
A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday, “When did we stop being proud to be American?” It’s a good question. I will never stop. My Dad fought at Normandy. My son served in Iraq. I fly the stars and stripes in front of my house and always will. I do it because I take pride in this great nation of ours. My father taught me how important that is. We live in America. We should be grateful for that.
Do we have problems in this country? Yes, we do. There’s a lot of work still to be done, but consider where we would be if our forces lost at Normandy. Hitler had a very different vision for the world. Our greatest generation stopped him cold. Today is a day to remember that. Your freedom to protest injustice? That was won for you on D-Day. Let’s salute the men and women who made that possible.